Harman Kardon NC Review
- Good: The Harman Kardon NC has it all: a unique design, an impeccable, beautiful finishes, a very good audio quality and reduced noise onboard. Add to the fact that it folds completely flat, and you get one of the best headphones markets.
- BAD: The price. Possibly also the fact that the control and the microphone do not work on all types of Smartphones (no problem for Apple devices).
- Summary: Although it is not as comfortable as the Bose QC15, the wired headphone provides enhanced sound quality, combined with good noise cancelling with a rechargeable battery and innovative design.
Harman Kardon NC Headphones
Last year, I was able to test the Harman Kardon Classic (CL), a headphone with ear cushions on the ears with a very innovative and original design. A kind of a mix between an old-school helmet design and modern helmets today. At the time, the CL Kardon was already a success, and I was looking forward to putting my hand on the newcomers: the Kardon BT (which integrates a Bluetooth module), and Kardon NC testing by incorporating a module Very effective noise reduction.
On the level of comfort, the two are very close, and it will be a matter of taste to decide between them, the two possessing very different designs. The NC is offered with a cord incorporating a remote control particularly effective with Apple products and having a microphone to make very simple phone calls. Note also the presence of a rechargeable battery to manage the reduction of the noise and the, in particular, the fact that the helmet remains usable if the battery is empty.
Design and Features
The design of the new HK headphone range is somewhat puzzling at first glance, and very different from what we usually see now (we think of the famous Beats or the recent SMS Audio Sync by 50 ). Thus, the headphone offers a design both old school and modern that may not please everyone. Personally, I find it very satisfactory and original. The overall quality of the helmet is superb, as are the finishes, and this one looked sturdy and designed to last. The two headphones are connected using a metal hoop which can be changed (two different sizes are delivered) to better adapt to your skull. Below this metal arch, there is a padded leather portion offering a real comfort.
I tend to favor headphones and headsets with circum-aural design, so I was quickly conquered by the NC model rather than the CL at the level of comfort. The pads have shape memory and allow you to adapt better and better to your head over time. The only downside to the design is the weight of the helmet which is around 320 grams, 120 more than the QuietComfort20.
Level features include a remote control optimized for Apple products and a microphone allowing you to very simply make phone calls from your iPhone or iPad. During our tests, the sound quality during calls was excellent on both sides. The remote control lets you simply change the volume, switch between tracks, or pause your music. So, be careful if you own an Android phone, not all are compatible.
Regarding storage, the helmet can fold flat and is offered with a pouch adapted to store it in your bag while on the move easily.
Finally, let’s finish the features by talking quickly about the noise reduction. The module activates with a small button on the left earpiece of the helmet. The battery of the module is rechargeable, which avoids having to buy back batteries continuously. It allows you to completely isolate yourself from the noises around you, very practical when traveling on public transport for example.
Also, it is important to note that unlike Bose models, the NC can continue to operate even if the battery of the noise reduction module is empty. A small flat on the USB cable to recharge the battery, which is not a standard cable, be careful not to lose it!
Performances of the Harman Kardon NC
The biggest compliment that one could make in NC is that it does not look like a headset with noise reduction so this one is discreet! By this, I mean that generally speaking, the reduction of noise can cause some slight blows in the sound, and reduce a little the quality of it. This is far from being the case, and the sound quality does not suffer. The sound is therefore very natural, and especially very precise. At the level of the sound profile, this remains rather similar to what one could discover with the Kardon CL, a sound rather balanced and neutral. No exaggeration in the bass or treble. The headset is also quite versatile and adapts to the majority of musical genres.
I gave a very good score to the Bose QC15 headphone, and yet I find that the sound is even better on this Harman Kardon NC. We find a little more dynamism in the retranscription of sounds, and that for our greatest pleasure.
In conclusion, the product offers an exceptional sound quality for a noise reduction headset. The pads are very comfortable and the helmet adapts to a majority of head shapes. In addition to these advantages, the manufacturer offers a rechargeable battery, but also the possibility of folding flat and storing his helmet very simply in a backpack or briefcase. The only reservation that can be made remains at the design level, which will not appeal to all. For my part, I find it very beautiful.